Sci/tech

MIT IDs proteins key to brain function
November 20, 2007 08:51 AM - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

CAMBRIDGE, MA— MIT researchers have identified a family of proteins key to the formation of the communication networks critical for normal brain function. Their research could lead to new treatments for brain injury and disease.

The team, led by MIT biology professor Frank Gertler, found that a certain family of proteins is necessary to direct the formation of axons and dendrites, the cellular extensions that facilitate communication between neurons.

Nuclear desalination: Could nuclear power by the answer to fresh water?
November 20, 2007 08:48 AM - Inderscience Publishers

New solutions to the ancient problem of maintaining a fresh water supply is discussed in a special issue of the Inderscience publication International Journal of Nuclear Desalination. With predictions that more than 3.5 billion people will live in areas facing severe water shortages by the year 2025, the challenge is to find an environmentally benign way to remove salt from seawater.

Global climate change, desertification, and over-population are already taking their toll on fresh water supplies. In coming years, fresh water could become a rare and expensive commodity. In the latest issue of the journal IJND, research results presented at the Trombay Symposium on Desalination and Water Reuse offer a new perspective on desalination and describe alternatives to the current expensive and inefficient methods.

South Korea eyes moon orbiter in 2020, landing 2025
November 20, 2007 04:34 AM - Reuters

The lunar probe program will be based on a rocket South Korea is developing at a cost of 3.6 trillion won ($3.9 billion) in the next decade.

China plans first space-walk
November 20, 2007 04:05 AM - Reuters

China in 2003 became only the third country to put a man into space using its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States. It then sent two astronauts on a five-day flight on its Shenzhou VI rocket in Oct 2005.

Google-funded 23andMe offers $999 DNA test
November 19, 2007 08:32 PM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - 23andMe, a Google-funded online company selling a $999 DNA test, launched on Monday as a kind of genetics-based MySpace or Facebook that also has the more serious aim of allowing medicine someday to target Americans' ills more precisely.

Delay in Autumn Colour is Caused by Increased Atmospheric CO2 not Global Warming
November 19, 2007 08:44 AM - University of Southampton

The delay in autumnal leaf coloration and leaf fall in trees is caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere and not by increased global temperatures, suggests a new study by researchers at the University of Southampton.

In recent years, woodland autumnal colour changes have been occurring later in the season whilst re-greening in spring has been occurring earlier. During the last 30 years across Europe, autumnal senescence – the process of plant aging where leaves discolour and then fall – has been delayed by 1.3 - 1.8 days a decade. To date, this has been explained by global warming, with increasing temperatures causing longer growing seasons.

Local sources major cause of US near-ground aerosol pollution
November 18, 2007 09:16 AM - NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

A new NASA study estimates that most ground-level particulate pollution in the United States stems from regional sources in North America and only a small amount is brought to the country from other parts of the world.

Researchers using an innovative global aerosol tracking model have for the first time produced a global estimate of sources and movements of aerosols near the ground where they can affect human health and run afoul of environmental regulations. Previously, researchers studying aerosols moving between continents focused primarily on tracking a single type of aerosol, such as dust or black carbon, or measuring their quantities throughout the atmosphere. This left gaps in understanding where ground-level particulate pollution comes from.

Porsche and Volkswagen to cooperate further: paper
November 17, 2007 07:35 AM - Reuters

Volkswagen and its premium brand Audi were interested in Porsche's lightweight construction of the four-door Panamera model, which is scheduled to hit dealerships in 2009, Porsche development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer told the paper in an article to be published on Monday.

Roman road, bath unearthed near Jewish temple site
November 16, 2007 08:47 AM - Rebecca Harrison -Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a second century terraced street and bath house which provide vital clues about the layout of Roman Jerusalem.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said the 30-metre (90-foot) alley was used by the Romans to link the central Cardo thoroughfare with a bath house and with a bridge to the Temple Mount, once the site of Jerusalem's ancient Jewish temple.

Weird dinosaur was "cow of the Mesozoic"
November 16, 2007 08:40 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A strange-looking dinosaur with rows of tiny teeth crammed into the very front of its jaws and fragile air-filled bones may have been the "cow of the Mesozoic," and far more common than better-known dinosaurs, scientists said on Thursday.

Its shovel-shaped jaws and tightly packed teeth -- up to 10 rows of teeth -- allowed Nigersaurus taqueti to vacuum through ferns and other ground cover, a team led by Paul Sereno at the University of Chicago reported.

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